Extreme Burn: Total Body Interval Training

extremeburnMike Donavanik is another new-to-me trainer. In fact, with Mike, I am at the end of the new-to-me trainers that I have decided to try out. I bought this DVD months ago and am just now getting around to trying it. The thing that made me hold off was the lengths of the workouts. There are two workouts on this DVD; one is 42 minutes and the other is 46 minutes. There is also a premix that combines the two for a 83 minute Extreme workout. Since I work out for an hour in the mornings, his workouts just didn’t fit. I could always add on other shorter workouts (which is what I did when I finally tried them), but since I’d never done the workouts, I wasn’t sure what add ons were most appropriate. I also could have done the Extreme premix the first time for my longer Saturday workout, but again, since I wasn’t familiar with his workouts and it was listed as advanced, I wanted to try the workouts individually first. Well, I finally did. And I’m still not sure what I think of them.

First off, Extreme Burn contains two advanced metabolic strength training workouts. They are composed of compound strength exercises, some cardio and core work. This workout moves very fast. I worked up quite a sweat and my muscles were hurting several times. In theory, that is a good thing for this type of workout, but in reality it was sometimes a problem. Some of the compound strength moves are so “compounded” they are awkward. I could not do them at Mike’s pace while using a heavy enough weight to give my muscles sufficient strength work and maintain good form. However, even the exercises I had to take at a slower pace still burned me out. So that is a good thing. But there is another “however”—even if going at a slower pace didn’t detract from the benefit I got from the workouts, what did detract was the awkwardness of some of these compound moves. In particular, in workout #1, there is this crazy combo: start in plank, do renegade row but hold dumbbell at top (so you are now supporting body in plank with one hand), jump legs in, stand and do one arm overhead press, keep dumbbell at top of move (overhead) while doing a wide squat and touching the ground with opposite hand—then squat thrust back into plank and keep repeating. That “modified” windmill was so awkward for me. Apparently it can be done properly because Mike and his crew had awesome form, but I could not get my body into the same alignment as them—tho I tried every single time! None of the other exercises gave me this much of a problem, but there were several that I could not do at the warp speed that Mike and crew did them. Now, once I accepted that, I did like the workouts more. Also, according to Mike, Workout #2 is more advanced than Workout #1—but I didn’t really see that. They are both equally advanced, I thought. I actually found some of the compound strength moves in Workout #1 more difficult than the ones in Workout #2.

Will I use these workouts again? I really don’t know. I am guessing probably not because I am so undecided about how I feel about them. On the one hand they are excellent metabolic strength workouts. On the other hand, I already own a lot of excellent metabolic strength workouts that I not only like a lot, but are the right length and have no unnecessarily awkward exercises. So I will probably not be seeking out anymore Mike Donavanik workouts.

This DVD comes with “bonus” features. Rotation calendars, workout journals, a “Healthy Eating Guide” that gives common sense information and wallpapers for your desktops—shirtless (and airbrushed) pictures of Mike so you can stare at him all day, I guess. The most relevant thing is the main rotation calendar. I am giving nothing special away by telling you what the calendar says since he lays it out in his DVD intro anyway. It is a 6 week rotation calendar. The first 2 weeks you do Workout #1 3-4 times a week, the next 2 weeks you do Workout #2 3-4 times a week and the last 2 weeks you do the Extreme premix 3-4 times a week. I guess if this is the only workout DVD you own that would be a good rotation, but I need variety! I could never stick to something so monotonous.

I used a wide variety of weights ranging from 5-20 pounds. The dumbbells I used the most in Workout #1 was 8 and 12 pounders, but I used them all at some point. Workout #2 I used 5-12 pound dumbbells. I would say the 8 pounders were used the most, but I used them all at some point. All of the workouts use the same warm up and stretch.

Workout 1 is 42 minutes long; 3 minute warm up, 36 minute training time and 3 minute stretch.

Compound strength work; each move is done for one minute:

Squat/Squat with overhead shoulder press

Reverse/lateral steps w/ tricep kickbacks

Side lunge/twisting row/oblique cross

Side lunge/twisting row/oblique cross (other side of body)

Alternating bicep curl/overhead press (one arm is doing the curl, the other the overhead press)

Wood chops

Reverse lunge w/ cross jab and overhead press at top

Reverse lunge w/ cross jab and overhead press at top (other side)

Cardio intervals; each move is done for 30 seconds

Side hops while punching down

High knee pulls (30 seconds each side)

Side shuffle punch

Speed skaters

Dynamo lunges

Repeat all cardio intervals

Compound strength work; each move is done for one minute

Dumbbells swings into a Y (overhead)

Renegade rows

Front lunge with front/side raise (one arm does front raise and one side raise)/tricep kickback at top of move

Front lunge with front/side raise (one arm does front raise and one side raise)/tricep kickback at top of move (other side)

Overhead tricep extensions

Grappler throws/Side to side twists

Renegade Row/squat thrust/modified windmill

Renegade Row/squat thrust/modified windmill (other side)

Core work; each exercise is done for 30 seconds

Crunches with legs elevated

Scissor crunches

Scissor crunches (other side)

Reverse crunches

Bicycle crunches

Boat pose

Repeat all ab moves


Workout #2 is 46 minutes long; 3 minute warm up, 40 minute training time and 3 minute stretch.

Compound strength work; each move is done for one minute:

Tricep pushup/squat thrust/clean and press

Lateral hops with tricep kickbacks

Tossing the hay (side lunge, hop to the side and push dumbbells out to side)

Tossing the hay (other side)

Windshield wiper curls (wide bicep curls into hammer curls)

Dumbbell circles (circle one dumbbell side, overhead, side)

Snatch/cross/ twisting overhead press

Snatch/cross/ twisting overhead press (other side)

Cardio Intervals; each are done for 30 seconds

Mountain climbers

Donkey kicks

Heisman drill

5-Point jumping drill

Bowtie Drill

Bear crawl to star jump

Repeat all cardio intervals

Compound strength work; each move is done for one minute

Lateral squat with shoulder pull press (alternate pushing dumbbells in front of you)

Staggered squat/twisting curl/cross jab

Forward lunge with row/reverse curtsy

Forward lunge with row/reverse curtsy (other side)

Shoulder/tricep sequence (I really loved this move)

Dumbbell torso rotation

Spiderman pushup/reverse T-Raise

Spiderman pushup/reverse T-Raise (other side)

Core work; each exercise is done for 30 seconds

Leg lifts

Crunches with legs elevated (reach for toes)


Crossover punches (full oblique sit ups)

Crossover punches (other side)

Russian twists

Repeat all ab moves


9 thoughts on “Extreme Burn: Total Body Interval Training

  1. Revisiting your review, I’m not a fan of Mike D either and won’t be seeking out anymore of his workouts. I thought he would be a good alternative to Jillian Michaels, but alas, I am still searching.

    I bought (and returned) his HIIT 30 DVD — I can’t recall the exact reasons but probably for the awkward moves and that I couldn’t keep pace and that it wasn’t a balanced total bodyworkout. I never bothered to try the second workout. (This DVD actually comes with a bonus disc of some of his popular youtube workouts so it is a good value, it just wasn’t for me.)

    I bought at deep discount his Bodyweight Blast. The cardio (previewed but didn’t do it) is way too high impact for me, and even though he had 2 back-up exercisers with him no one showed a modifier to make the move less impact which annoyed me. (I don’t always need to modify moves but what’s the point of having back-up exercisers if no one shows a modifier?) And the bodyweight workout I felt wasn’t balanced and focused too much on the lower body….. I do think one of the back-up exercisers showed a modifier. I had major DOMS in my glutes and hammies for two days and did not work out. The ab workout (starring Kym Nonstop with Mike D in the background) is gold. It’s a great ab workout and Kym has an awesome personality. If she had DVDs (which I don’t think she does) I would buy.


    1. A lot of workouts are like that. In fact, Cathe workouts rarely show any modifications. In fact, only her newer workouts do and not all of them. That is usually my biggest complaint with workouts labeled “total body.” If you are going to give it that label then you better not miss a muscle group!


  2. I was thinking of getting one of his dloads from his website. I really do not like when instructors move far too fast with cumbersome moves though. Seems unneccesary and can be too awkward for the hips and shoulders.
    Thanks for the thorough review.


    1. I had forgotten about that workout! I’m glad my review was helpful. I remember I had all of his DVDs on my Amazon wishlist until I did this one. Then I deleted them all! There are so many better metabolic workouts out there.


      1. I know you weren’t a huge fan of this workout, but did you ever sample Mike’s Extreme Burn: Metabolic Conditioning DVD that your reader, Colleen, suggested? I ask because I’m thinking of picking up his Metabolic Conditioning DVD (2012) along with his Xtreme Burn HIIT 30 DVD (2016)…. I love Jillian but I need to branch out and experience other trainers and their workouts. My first experience with KCM wasn’t a good one (but I’m not writing her off yet) but I thought about trying Mike….

        Learning my lesson from missing out on Mark Lauren’s sale on Amazon, I already scooped up Mike’s Xtreme Burn Bodyweight Blast (2016) DVD from Collage Video — it was on sale for $5 and since it was my first order I had a coupon code to use too, so even with shipping I still got a great deal. I haven’t previewed Bodyweight Blast yet but hope to very soon.


      2. I figured that…. If I didn’t love a first workout by a new-to-me trainer I likely would not purchase additional DVDs either.

        I’ll have to make time ASAP to preview Mike’s Bodyweight Blast DVD. If I like it, I can probably order with confidence the other two I was interested in…..


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